SPECIES FACT FILE
Scientific name: Ramphastos tucanus
English names: White-throated toucan
Spanish and local names: Tucán pechiblanco, Tucán de pico rojo
Size: 50–61 cm (19.5–24 in)
Weight: 425 to 830 g (0.937 to 1.830 lb)
There are 40 species of toucans and all of them are native to the tropical forests of South and Central America. The white-throated toucan is the second largest of them, only after the toco toucan, which we also have at La Senda Verde. White-throated toucans have a mostly black plumage with a white chest and throat and red markings on the wings, the chest and on their beaks. Toucans are noted for their extremely large beaks, in comparison to the size of their body, they have the largest beaks of all birds. The beaks on white-throated toucans can range from dark-brown colors to black with hints of read, and a yellow line on top that matches the yellow and sky-blue colors around the eyes. Males are a larger and longer-billed but otherwise the sexes are alike.
White-throated toucans can thrive in most ecosystems inside their range, including lowland tropical forests, savannahs, late stage successional forest, and mature forest near water, in elevations that can go as high as 1,400mts. It also forages in clearings, forests edges, secondary forests, forest edges, forest patches, plantations, pasture trees, mangroves, etc.
Some sources state that the white-throated toucan occurs only in the north-eastern amazon, east of the Rio Negro and south of the amazon into the states of Pará and Maranhao in Brazil. Other sources however give it a much broader range; this may be due to uncertainties around its taxonomy and systematics. Our two resident white-throated toucans are proof that this species occurs also in the south-western amazon, including Bolivia.
Toucans live in flocks and more commonly in pairs that move through large ranges of forest in search of fruits, with undulating, rather weak flight, rarely flying leaps that do not exceed 100 m (330 ft) in distance. Their diets can include insects and lizards though this species is primarily an arboreal fruit eater.
White-fronted toucans will lay from 2 to 4 eggs at a time, in hollow trees or in abandoned woodpecker nests. Both parents will incubate the eggs and these take around 14-15 days to hatch. The hatchlings are born naked, blind and with a small bill, and have special pads on their heels which help them in the rough nest floor. Both parents will feed the chicks and they take around six weeks to leave the nest. Once they do, the parents will continue to feed the juveniles for several weeks.
White-fronted toucans produce a beautiful eeo, hue hue sound that can be easily heard in the forest and contrary to other birds, their singing activity increases as the day passes on.
White-throated toucans are listed as Vulnerable, “VU” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Their populations are decreasing and they are endangered. Their biggest threat is the reduction of their habitat. Their beautiful colors and large beaks make them very attractive for the wildlife pet trade, from where our two resident white-throated toucans come from.
AIR CONDITIONED- Toucans manage their body temperature by sending more blood into their beaks. The more blood pumped in, the more heat release.
BIG SOFTY- Unlike other birds, the Toucan’s beak is quite soft, they cannot use it for things like digging or fighting.
TREE HOPPER- Toucan’s wings are quite small. They don’t really fly, rather, they glide, hopping from tree to tree as they travel through the forest.
White-throated toucans at La Senda Verde
We have three resident toucans in total, two white-throated toucans and a Toco toucan. The white-throated toucan’s names are Tuqui and Toco. In the images and video appears Sam, a toucan that perished in 2018. Our toucans are living in a brand new toucan aviary that was finished also in 2018.
Feeding Sam Video